#1 2011-09-25 13:46:42

Simon_Fraser
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Registered: 2011-03-14
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SIMOON IV's Log (HR43)

Just to let you know that we are now the proud owners of a Hallberg Rassy 43. She looks beautiful and goes well. We have motored into a head wind of 25 knots but were still able to do 6 knots - fantastic. The spray hood is deep enough for us to hide under in the rain, too.

HR43MkII_sailing.jpg
A similar Hallberg Rassy 43 Mk II sailing

Below she has a big 48" x 48" table which happily accommodated 8 people to a celebration supper last Saturday after a maiden voyage to Henan - about 15 miles away. Our guests were Jill and Stan, who were driving our car back to England for us, Nelly and Jan who had come from Hamburg, whose 41 foot HR had prompted us to buy this one, and Eva and Geoff, from Sollebrun, who had brought a load of stuff over for us from their recent holiday in England and wth whom we had stayed on their farm en route to the boat.

There were one or two little problems when we got on board - the chart plotter had been put below instead of on deck as ordered and the windscreen leaked and had to be replaced.

So, unlike proud parents we can see a few faults, but I am sure the good points will soon overcome the niggles - nowhere to hang a towel, genoa and staysail sheets the same colour, despite being requested otherwise and there were no cupboards in the small galley tall enough to hold more than a tin of tomatoes, etc.

Saloon.jpg
Typical HR43MkII Saloon

Galley.jpg
Typical HR43MkII Galley

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#2 2011-09-25 13:47:57

Simon_Fraser
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Re: SIMOON IV's Log (HR43)

We set off from Ellos on Wednesday and motored through a myriad of picturesque islands to Marstrand, where we met a delightful couple, Henrik and Kerstin, who came on board and then invited us to their traditional Swedish wooden house, where the logs are treated on the outside but not on the inside so there is no insulation. We had smoked fish with them as they told us about their Japanese friends who were arriving the next day to inspect the Hallberg Rassy 43 which they had ordered.

Marstrand.jpg
Marstrand

Next day we motored to Vrango in very strong head winds, again threading our way amongst many islands with the help of the new chart plotter. When we came into the harbour a motor boat and a yacht kindly moved up to give us a larger parking space. The bow thruster was wonderful in helping Simon to manoeuvre. The pontoon was extremely wide and every so often had an extra area with a picnic table and barbecue to use. Water and electricity are included in the mooring fee which is good.

vrango.gif
Vrango

On Friday we had a longer trip, trying out all the sails on the way to Varberg. At first we complained that there were no tell tales on the main and were considering asking Dave to come with his glue pot, but then we realised that with in-mast furling they could possibly get jammed. It's so easy to haul the sails out with the use of the electric winches. What luxury! Talking of which, the washing machine works well and is another delightful extra.

Varberg.jpg
Varberg Fortress

Alexandra and Anders came to admire the boat and then showed us their new 40 foot Arcona which is just 3 months old. They have recently bought a flat in Portsmouth and will be moving to England shortly, so over roast chicken on board Simoon IV we encouraged them to join the CA and learn about the joys of tides.

Today the sun is shining and we have been sightseeing, enjoying the local market and looking at the old town. Everyone is very friendly and welcoming and they all speak English. The hardy Swedes were swimming in the sea and basking in the cool air.

We plan to cruise down to Elsinor and will spend a few days there and at Helsingborg before moving down to the Kiel canal.

When we come back to England we have booked to keep the boat at Chatham Maritime Marina for the winter and will welcome visitors to see our new acquisition.

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#3 2011-09-25 13:55:19

Simon_Fraser
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Re: SIMOON IV's Log (HR43)

Having thought of this trip as a delivery trip back to Chatham, things have not turned out like that at all. It's probably been our most sociable trip ever! We have filled more than 2 pages of our Log Book with all the friendly people we have met. We have also detoured to see Copenhagen - a city with many canals and the famous Tivoli Gardens - and pottered gently onwards to the Kiel Canal, after being storm bound in Stubbekobing for 3 days last weekend. We were near two other CA yachts, one a 38 foot Hallberg Rassy and the other a 43 foot Regina, and spent hours talking about the depths on the mast-up route in Holland.

The weather has been sunny in the middle of the day though there is a heavy autumnal dew overnight and our heater is on every evening. Sweden and Denmark - recollections of bicycles everywhere, flagpoles in many gardens, too, young people smoking and older people chewing gum. All Swedes speak clear English whilst German seems to be the second language of the Danes on the islands. There has been a delightfully wide variety of food in the supermarkets and the breads were absolutely delicious (after the Caribbean it seems marvellous!). Prices are high, so, now we're in Germany, at Cuxhaven waiting for the right weather to dash 170 miles past the Frisian islands to the IJsslemeer, we find the euro appears cheap in comparison.

Today we sailed from Brunsbuttel to Cuxhaven and had over 3k of tide with us all the way. On a beam reach, in glorious sunshine, the SOG was 11.1k at one point, with winds around 14k. What speed and luxury! It was really great. Jan and his son were sailing a dinghy close by and we took photos of each other under full sail. (Cheaper than the BVI photos we had taken of Simoon III earlier in the year). The day before Jan and Nellie had been with us, as they had joined us at Laboe and spent two days on board as we cruised the Kiel. It was hot and sunny, hardly any wind and very peaceful. We anchored the first night in Flemhuder See, which was like Stangate Creek without a tide.

Simoon IV is big and beautiful and we are both beginning to love her for her speed, space and comfort, quality of workmanship and electric winches, but the downside for Janet is that it's a long way down when we come into harbour. The fenders have to be at water level and despite buying a fender step the distance is daunting.

We are having a wonderful time. In Copenhagen we met up with Gus and Helen, an American couple whom we had met when they wintered in St Katharine's last year, and we have been sailing in company with them, apart from when they took the inside passage via Praesto and we went on to Klintholm and Stubbekobing as we couldn't get under the 20m bridge which was on their route. We need 22m plus a bit for clearance and even then it's rather worrying as you approach the 25 m bridge and wonder whether one or other of the measurements is wrong!

Nyhavn.jpg
Nyhavn, Copenhagen

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#4 2011-09-25 13:59:58

Admin
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Re: SIMOON IV's Log (HR43)

We are getting close to England every day it seems and we can now count the days until we get back. We hope to be in London before 30th September so we haven't long to go. We eventually left Cuxhaven on Thursday and sailed past the Frisian Islands doing an overnight sail to Harlingen. It was 173 miles which took us 28 and a half hours. Jan came with us as he had never done that journey. He then had to get a train back to Hamburg which was about 6 hours.

Harlingen.jpg
Harlingen

Yesterday we floated gently on a flat, glassy sea in the IJsselmeer with the sun shining and very little wind. It's the idyllic pictures you see about sailing. Great. A perfect day. We are now in Enkhuizen and again socialising. Two other Hallberg Rassy owners came to say hello and as they have old boats they appreciated a tour of ours and kept comparing them. Then they offered us drinks on a 42 footer which was quite different inside. They even had a TV and a microwave - but no washing machine.

Enkhuizen.jpg
Enkhuizen

We have spent the day wandering round the outdoor museum here, which was fascinating. Traditional old buildings have been re-erected and there are demonstrations of old crafts. Fish was being smoked and it tasted delicious.

We are waiting for Gus and Helen to arrive. They stopped at Vlieland after the night passage so will now be catching up with us again.

Next stop Amsterdam, then the night convoy through the bridges en route to Flushing.

What a great life this is!

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#5 2011-09-25 14:04:53

Simon_Fraser
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Re: SIMOON IV's Log (HR43)

We're back in London now, having had a fantastic 'delivery trip' with our new baby. Actually she's a bit too big to be called that, more like a sophisticated lady, with buttons to press to get sails in and out and a washing machine.

We could see that this past weekend was going to bring a period of calm weather, so we rushed through the canals, trying to get to bridges which only open 3 times a day and locks where the fender height was unpredictable. On Friday we suddenly found that one bridge was being repaired and would not open until October, so after a few moments of panic we had to retrace our steps and find another route out to the North Sea.

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Stellendam

On Saturday, we left Stellendam on a very misty morning and then motored for 20 hours (147 miles) across an almost glassy sea, the wind being between 2 and 7 knots. All the way! Unbelievable for the North Sea. As it was so light we decided to continue to Chatham and came up the Thames in the dark (very confusing because there were loads of anchored and moored boats and also a lot of shipping).

As we approached Chatham at 0400 I called up and the man in the marina answered immediately and said "Sorry sir, but we are full". Not what we wanted to hear after such a long day! Anyway, I pointed out that I had paid £500 deposit for a winter mooring and had emailed them the day before, so we were given a temporary place overnight and then moved to our appointed berth on Sunday morning in glorious sunshine.

Chatham.jpg
Chatham Maritime Marina

When we went to replenish the fuel we saw that the lock gates had jammed shut and three boats were trapped inside, with many others out on the river waiting to get in. So glad that it had not happened at 4 a.m.

Anyway we are now at home, sorting ourselves out after a really super summer trip. We did just over 900 miles in bringing Simoon IV back and have made a long 'to do list' of jobs to be done before next season when we plan to wend our way back to the Baltic. At least on that trip there will be no deadlines and we can take as long as we want getting in that direction. We will leave her whenever we think the summer is over and pick her up again next year.

Now to endure a cold winter after two winters in the Caribbean.

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#6 2011-09-25 14:07:06

Simon_Fraser
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Re: SIMOON IV's Log (HR43)

Update sent to the Association by e-mail on Sunday, 30th May 2010 - 'Simoon IV' has now reached Antwerp.

Antwerp_Marina.jpg
Antwerp Marina

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#7 2011-09-25 14:09:18

Simon_Fraser
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Re: SIMOON IV's Log (HR43)

Update sent to the Association by e-mail on Sunday, 9th July 2010 - 'Simoon IV' is now on the Gravelingenmeer.

Vilvoorde_Bridge.jpg
Vilvoorde bridge at sunset

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#8 2011-09-25 14:12:31

Simon_Fraser
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Re: SIMOON IV's Log (HR43)

Having spent many weeks pottering through the canals in idyllic weather, it was a shock last week to go through the lock near Makkum and be battered by strong winds and waves. Well, actually the wind was howling before that as we approached the waiting pontoon for the lock and it was a difficult manoeuvre. I tried to reach over to grab at the mooring cleat, with a fully extended pole. The skipper shouted "Reach further" and as I attempted to grow by 6 inches the rope touched the edge of the cleat then tantalisingly fell off, as the pole slipped from my grasp and began floating away.

We had to back off the pontoon and flounder around whilst I shouted to the moored Dutch boat. It was difficult to get the lady clutching her dog to realise what I was saying. Eventually she went to the bows of her boat and attempted to recapture my pole. Aided by the man on the next boat she succeeded, but unfortunately she was not going through the lock when we were. A small yacht which had witnessed my ineptitude went to collect the pole and came over to deliver it to us. Later when we met them in the restaurant in Vlieland we laughed about the incident.

So we spent a few days in Vlieland, reluctantly, as it cost over 37 euros a night, which was the most expensive marina since the Hamble. Previously in Makkum at the fishing harbour which was very close to the town it was approximately 14 euros and at Haarlem, where we moored alongside the canal right by the town, it was only 10.45 euros a night. In Amsterdam we stayed at Aeolus yacht club just near Sixhaven, where berthing was 16.25 euros a night and a beer and a coffee cost 1.50 euros. Not bad. So the cost at Vlieland came as a shock.

Anyway, July in the Netherlands was great as we went to Rotterdam to our first ICCY rally where we had 4 interesting days of planned activity with 36 boats and 97 participants from many countries - Germany, Sweden, Finland, France, Belgium and Holland. For us the highlight was a visit to Rotterdam Port Control where we were given an insight into how the system works in controlling one of the busiest ports in Europe. After that we visited Dordrecht and then spent nearly a week in Haarlem where we went to an organ recital in the huge cathedral there with my niece and her husband. We had a brief 5 days back in London for a fantastic wedding which was a really joyful occasion and then we began to think of our open sea passage to Denmark ... so the weather changed!

We called in at Hoorn and were told that there was a Kermis. Remembering the delightful previous events we'd found we thought it was a festival, but, unfortunately, it turned out to be a fair, with big wheel, candy floss, shooting range, etc. Not our scene, though the fireworks on the Friday night were good. We had spent the day going on a steam train to Medemblik via a steam engine museum and were able to buy a set of German charts for the Frisian islands.

We were wondering how to accomplish the long sail to Helgoland and whether we were courageous enough to visit Nordeney which has a shallow entrance. The man tied next to us in Vlieland suggested that we break the trip into 3 sections, each about 50+ miles long, stopping at Lauwersoog and Nordeney en route.

Nordeney_Marina.jpg
Nordeney Marina

We are now in Nordeney, waiting out a gale. For the last 2 days winds have reached 47k and we were glad to be tied up in harbour, with lots of extra ropes on. When we arrived as it was getting dark and have negotiated the buoyed channel, we entered the harbour and tied up next to a smaller boat. Several men came to help us, but the woman on the boat next door but one started shouting that we were too big and had to move. I insisted we stayed there until Simon had walked round the pontoons to find a nother place. So we are now tied up in a huge box, (for landlubbers this means you have to lassoo a pole on either side and then go either forwards or backward into a straight pontoon) It took a long time to get the lines adjusted but we are now snug inside reading, watching the rain and poring over the charts. The poles around which I had to throw the rope are at least 15 foot high so no chance of throwing over the top, instead I had to try and get it round the hefty piece of wood. Ever hugged a tree? Unfortunately it was so wide I couldn't easily get my arms round it to pass a rope around. We are tied stern-to to the pontoon, which is easier to get off than the bows and have several fenders in place to stop as hitting the edge.

The Windguru is showing strong winds - purple - for the next few days. The colours go from pale blue (light winds) green, yellow, orange, red to purple. At orange I am not happy but PURPLE is 45+ knots and we certainly don't do that. On Saturday when we sailed from Vlieland to Lauwersoog we had gusts of over 30k but Simoon IV is much better at coping than Simoon III. However, my ability to cope has not changed!!!! Thanks Jill for the 'sick bags' which you gave us from your recent flights. This boat has a wide deck and when you're in the cockpit it's too wide to lean over the side if you're turning green. You have to stand up and step out of the cockpit to the guardrail and that's not a good idea if your stomach is doing somersaults.

We had met a Dutch couple in Vlieland who were also going to Lauwersoog, Nordeney and Helgoland, so we have had drinks together each evening. Their boat is the same size as ours but it has a lifting keel so we can't follow them. They take the short cuts over shallow patches whilst we have to go the long way round.

We have revised our plans and having studied the charts are now thinking of going directly to Cuxhaven and the Kiel canal rather than to Helgoland and the River Eider as the turbulent weather will be with us for some time, with possibly a brief lull on Friday and Saturday.

Simoon IV was just one year old, on 12th August, and so this was about the time last year when we left Ellos in Sweden for our journey to Chatham. We can't believe how different the weather is this year.

C'est la vie.

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